EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: London Super Comic Con


With only a few weeks to go till the newest con on the block launches, Geek Syndicate caught up with the organisers to ask some of those questions we know you want to hear answered.

The UK’s newest Convention launches with a bang and whizz by getting the biggest name in comics EVER but how did they do manage it….

There are a lot more conventions around now than 5 years ago. This means it is a very competitive market, how did you decide to make yours unique?

Quite simply, there are no London or UK based comic events that have been a truly international event. Wouldn’t it be great if comic fans went to San Diego, New York and then London. We want to develop an event on that level purely dedicated to comics. Most other events that aim for this have comics in their title but in actuality have only a very small proportion of their make-up devoted to comics if any at all. We have firmly put comics at the forefront of our show and have gone the extra mile and then some, to create a guest list of not just the comic artist & writers that live in the UK, but also the American artist and writers that never attend UK conventions, and on a scale that is almost unheard of in the UK.

Even with our line up being second to none for the UK, we haven’t rested on our laurels, and instead decided to raise the bar even further by negotiating for IDW, one of the largest American Comic Publishers and producers of titles like Transformers, Star Trek and True Blood, to attend their 1st ever UK convention and bring along with them, exclusive material and creators to sign their comics.

All the above coupled with Stan Lee and a floor space that’s close to 100,000 square feet, puts the Super in London Super Comic Convention, and makes us the place to be, to see anything related to comics.

What have been some of the challenges you’ve had to overcome to put on a convention of this size?

The biggest obstacle that we have faced has been the negativity and nay saying from people who didn’t believe that a show of this magnitude would ever be possible in the UK and were probably understandably dubious about a show that seemed to have come out of nowhere.  It was quite demoralising.

Given that the UK, with its close ties to Europe and a 9% share of the global market for new comics, had never organised a comics convention of this size- the sheer amount of work and logistical athletics we had to perform has been and continues to be astounding.

Fortunately we had a great group of people around us who helped out to bypass a lot of these issues and bring us to where we are now, and with the support of the attendees we can make sure that all the American Publishers stand up and look our way, to make this show just the start of something much bigger.

Why did you pick this particular time of the year to hold the convention or was it purely for convenience?

Looking at the US show calendar is a must when you are trying to attract as many US creators as we were, and therefore our inaugural show was only ever going to be early in the year or very late. We chose the 25-26th of February as it places us at the very start of the convention season and hopefully makes the London Super Comic Convention the first convention on many people’s lists.

The Excel centre is a huge place to fill what has been the response so far from exhibitors?

We are very happy with the response that we received, especially from the UK publishers who all put their weight behind the show, with the likes of 2000AD, Markosia and Panini in attendance, on portfolio reviews and panels.

Being very conscious of the issues that other conventions in the UK face when arranging signings, or areas for people to queue for panels, we have allowed for this and will present something unique to most UK conventions – a specific signing area, out of the way of other exhibitors so that the queues do not interfere with their trading (what a novel idea!).

A lot of the convention events have evening events/ after parties…is there anything like that planned for the LSCC?

Given the size and organisation going into the planning of this first show, we didn’t feel that having after show events was something that we wanted to pursue ourselves this time round. Instead we have encouraged attendees to post on our Facebook site, links to any gathering that they are arranging and let it happen organically that way.

How are the ticket sales going?

Ticket sales are going very well, but complacency is not something that we are prone to, so we are starting our mainstream press campaign this month, with articles and interviews in the Independent newspaper, TNT magazine, Sci-Fi Now and spots on BBC News and a few others.

When can we expect to see a full schedule of events?

The signing schedule has been released on the site as well as the panel information. Further details like the floor plan will be going up soon.

This convention is aimed at comics fans but are there any plans to branch out if the show is a success?

We love comics, and all things to do with comics, so believe that there is quite a way yet to get established and become the number one destination for all comic fans, in the UK and Europe. Once this has been achieved, we will look to see what else is on the horizon.

Have you attended any of the other UK comic conventions to get a feel for what’s already on offer?

We have attended all of the conventions currently on, some repeatedly over the last few years. We also boast members of our crew that have attending UK shows going back to the very first UKCAC back in 1984 and the midland cons before that. This coupled with organisers that have been attending U.S. shows for over 20 years, gives us a great understanding of exactly what the UK is missing and how to plug that gap.

You have managed to get one of the best scoops of recent years in getting Stan Lee, how did you manage this? Do you have any other surprises in store for us?

In short, a lot of hard work, negotiations and months of back and forth went into getting Stan, that and a very large financial commitment. When we set our sights on Stan to attend, we knew we had an uphill struggle, as Stan hasn’t appeared at a UK convention officially for nearly 40 years. Fortunately all the hard work paid off and after a few last minute negotiations, we were able to announce that Stan would not only be in attendance for both days, performing signings, photos and speaking at our panels, but also that we had negotiated to allow a select few attendees (opting for the VIP Tier 3 package on our site) the opportunity to meet the man himself and chat in an informal setting within a small group.

Having Stan attend is like a dream come true for any reader of comics, past or present, and, this may very well be the last time he attends a UK convention, so it was almost our duty to make this a reality.

As to other surprises, well we are working on something for the prize for our Super-Hero/Super-Villain Cosplay competition. If it comes off, expect to see a large amount of people dressing up in the hopes that they will win.

Tell us one thing about the London Super Comic Con that isn’t on your website?

Our official spokesperson is very well known to you, and we look forward to you meeting him in person and gasping in shock . 

If you could want one thing the attendees take away from your con what would you want it to be?

An understanding that this is just the start of something much bigger, and that in them showing their support and attending, they have helped be a part of something that will redefine the way people in the UK look at conventions. With our show attracting not 3, 4 or 5 oversees creators but 10, 20 or 30, and yet keeping a ticket price that is the same, or much cheaper than other conventions, they should walk away knowing that they received exceptional value for money at the same time.

The London Super Comic Con is on February 25th and 26th at the Excel Centre London and tickets are still available but not for long I would imagine. so grab them here.
GS Reporter: Montoya

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